Ref: 54/2008


PCHR is deeply concerned about the recurrence of internal explosions as a result of weapons being manufactured, and stored, in areas populated by civilians. These actions are threatening the lives and property of Palestinian civilians. PCHR calls upon Palestinian resistance groups to take immediate measures to ensure the non-recurrence of such explosions. The most recent explosion, in Beit Lahia on June 12, killed eight Palestinians, including an infant, and injured at least forty others.

 

According to investigations conducted by PCHR and eye-witness testimonies, at approximately 13:30 on Thursday, 12 June, a huge explosion occurred in a 400-square-meter house belonging to ‘Abdul ‘Azim Khaled Hammouda in the centre of Beit Lahia town, in the northern Gaza Strip. The house was completely destroyed and dozens of neighboring houses were also damaged, five of them seriously. Ambulances and civil defense crews rushed to the area, and removed victims’ bodies from beneath the ruins of the destroyed house, and neighbouring houses. The victims included 4-month-old Nour Majdi Hammouda, who was killed whilst inside her family home, and 16-year-old Mahmoud ‘Ataya Hammouda, who was killed whilst walking near the site of the explosion.  

 

The ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) stated in a press release issued on 13 June, that 6 of its members were killed “while they were in the final stage of preparation for a special Jihad mission.” Those members have been identified as:  

 

1)      Ashraf Na’im Mushtaha, 32;

2)      Hassan Mohammed Abu Shaqfa, 28;

3)      Majid ‘Aadel Hammouda, 28;

4)      Mohammed Sabri Abu Naja, 25;

5)      Mohammed Hamdan Miqdad, 22;

6)      Ahmed Muneer Subaih, 20.

 

In light of the above, PCHR:

 

1)      Warns of the dangers caused by continued manufacturing or storage of explosive devices by Palestinian resistance groups in civilian-populated areas, which threaten the lives of Palestinian civilians and violate international humanitarian law.

2)      Calls upon Palestinian resistance groups to take effective steps to ensure the non-recurrence of such incidents.